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College Football Post-Week 8 Award Watch

Jace Amaro

Jace Amaro

The Heisman is but one award, and one award isn’t enough to contain the best of college football.

While we love prognosticating who will win college football’s most coveted individual trophy, we also love the glut of postseason awards that go to each position, each with a nod to the game’s history from Davey O’Brien and Doak Walker to Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe to Ray Guy and Lou Groza.

Everyone tracks the progress in the Heisman race, but Athlon Sports will try to keep an eye on who will take home college football’s positional awards.

Here’s our look at the “other” trophies through the eighth week of the season.

Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Oregon’s Marcus Mariota

Mariota had his first two turnovers since late last season with a pair of fumbles against Washington State. He still passed for 327 yards and two touchdowns in an easy win and remains in interception-free this season. Mariota completed 47 of 63 passes with five touchdowns against the Washington schools.
Others: Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Baylor’s Bryce Petty

Doak Walker (Top running back)

Our leader: Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon
Gordon recovered from his 74-yard day against Ohio State by rushing for a combined 314 yards and four touchdowns on 39 carries against Northwestern and Illinois. Ohio State is the only opponent to hold him to fewer than 140 rushing yards.
Others: Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews, Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, Washington’s Bishop Sankey, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)

Our leader: Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks
Cooks will face some heat from Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, but Cooks remains the leader here. Evans has the second-most receiving yards in the country to Cooks with 23 fewer receptions. Evans also has the advantage of playing in high-profile Aggies games while Cooks is more likely buried in the late-night portion of the schedule or on the Pac-12 Networks.
Others: Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, Baylor’s Antwan Goodley, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Baylor’s Tevin Reese, Colorado’s Paul Richardson, Penn State’s Allen Robinson

Mackey (Top tight end)

Our leader: Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro

Amaro is conspicuously absent from the official list of Mackey Award semifinalists. That’s due to Texas Tech’s previous coaching staff classifying him as a wide receiver with the Mackey folks, according to Fox Sports Southwest’s David Ubben. He doesn’t play in a three-point stance as much as other tight ends, but he’s far and away the most productive with 56 catches for 742 yards.
Others: North Carolina’s Eric Ebron

Outland (Top interior lineman)

Our leader: Baylor’s Cyril Richardson
Given stiff competition at quarterback, running back and receiver, Richardson may be Baylor’s best best for an individual award on offense despite the prolific numbers.
Others: Oregon’s Hroniss Grasu, Oklahoma’s Gabe Ikard, Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio, Georgia Tech’s Shaq Mason, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, Stanford’s David Yankey

Nagurski/Bednarik (Defensive player of the year)

Our leader: UCLA’s Anthony Barr

Barr did not have his greatest game against Stanford, who were able to run the ball to seal a 24-10 win. Barr finished with eight tackles and a tackle for a loss. A big showing against Oregon could be his moment for postseason award contention.
Others: Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov

Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)

Our leader: Barr

Others: Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy

Butkus (Top linebacker)

Our leader: Barr
Others: Wisconsin’s Chris Borland, Stanford’s Trent Murphy, Boston College’s Kevin Pierre-Louis, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov

Thorpe (Top defensive back)

Our leader: Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner

Joyner anchored Florida State in a defensive showcase against Clemson. Joyner had an interception, a sack and two forced fumbles as Clemson had its worst offensive game in more than a year
Others: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, TCU’s Jason Verrett

Lou Groza (Top kicker)

Our leader: Oklahoma’s Michael Hunnicutt
The Sooners’ offense hasn’t been overwhelming, but Hunnicutt has been there to pick up field goals, converting 15 of 16 this season. Hunnicutt has made all 10 attempts in the last three games but missed an extra point against Kansas.
Others: Texas Tech’s Ryan Bustin, Maryland’s Brad Craddock, Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez

Ray Guy (Top punter)

Our leader: Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Murphy
Murphy leads the nation at 47.4 yards per kick on 6.7 punts per game.

Others: Ole Miss’ Tyler Campbell, Alabama’s Cody Mandell, Tennessee’s Michael Palardy

Freshman of the year

Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston

Winston may have to play himself out of being a Heisman finalist, much less then nation’s top freshman. His 201.41 pass efficiency rating is less than 21 points behind Baylor’s Bryce Petty, but it would nonetheless break Russell Wilson’s record at Wisconsin.
Others: Pittsburgh’s Tyler Boyd, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III

Coach of the year
Our leader: Missouri’s Gary Pinkel

Without starting quarterback James Franklin, Missouri still crushed Florida for its most embarrassing loss, statistically, in quite some time. Missouri has one of the best defensive lines in the SEC and is the odds-on favorite to win the East. Who saw that one coming?
Others: Baylor’s Art Briles, Northern Illinois’ Rod Carey, Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter, Tulane’s Curtis Johnson, Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham

Broyles Award (Top assistant)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi
Hard to believe Narduzzi hasn’t won the award before as the architect of some of the nation’s top defenses at Michigan State. The Spartans are allowing only 228 yards per game and 3.6 yards per play, which puts Michigan State in a class with 2011 Alabama, 2010 TCU, 2008 TCU and 2008 USC.
Others: Baylor’s Phil Bennett, LSU’s Cam Cameron, Utah’s Dennis Erickson, Maryland’s Mike Locksley, Texas’ Greg Robinson